Get started building your WooCommerce store or web application — Call us today at (206) 806.7809
Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re thinking about getting into the eCommerce game, it’s certainly worth taking a close look at existing businesses to look for commonalities.

It’s challenging enough even with this type of research, and if you try to figure things out from scratch—however commendable they may be—you’ll only end up struggling to get by.

As different as they may be when it comes to the niches they occupy and the products they sell, any two flourishing eCommerce businesses will share certain things.

By ensuring that you include the following 7 ingredients in your nascent business, you can give it a much greater chance to develop into a truly competitive store:

A Strong Modern CMS

The CMS you use as the foundation of your store plays a vital role in determining its success, and this is something that top brands fully understand.

A good CMS makes it easy to add and edit content, update products, run promotions, communicate with customers, and do countless other important things—choose poorly, and your most basic efforts will be hampered.

Fortunately enough, there are plenty of great ecommerce platforms around: you can look through some of them in this roundup, or look at existing businesses to see which platforms they use (if you ask them, they might even explain how they chose).

Whatever else you do, confirm that your platform of choice is consistently updated: running your store on an old platform will leave it more vulnerable to attack.

A Mobile-First Design

For a time, mobile-responsiveness was advisable. After that, it was important, then essentially mandatory. Skip ahead to now, and it’s frankly comical when online sellers don’t plan their mobile designs before anything else.

Firstly, it’s easier and more logical to design the smallest version of your interface first, and secondly, mobile shopping keeps growing.

The basics of responsiveness should be handled by your CMS and template, assuming you picked a good CMS—but the tweaking and the designing is up to you.

Test on smartphones from the very beginning, and don’t just settle for functionality: if your store isn’t comfortable to visit on a phone, then you need to take a few steps back and change your approach.

Trust Indicators

Though buying online has become a massive part of the retail market—even the dominant part—people can still be reluctant to trust online retailers.

It’s all due to the level of disconnect, and the possibility of fraud. In a physical store, you get the item, then you pay for it, so you don’t need to fear being ripped off. That’s not the case with eCommerce, where you need to order and then wait for it to be delivered to you.

That’s where trust indicators become invaluable. A trust indicator (as the name suggests) is anything you can add to a website to make a shopper more likely to trust the retailer.

Most commonly, trust indicators include badges for security certification schemes, logos of notable customers, aggregate review scores, and customer satisfaction guarantees—if you can budget for it, using a marketing solution like Yotpo will allow you to tick all these boxes).

Content Marketing

To not only survive but thrive for an extended period in the cutthroat online retail world, you need something more than great offers—you need a brand that brings in traffic and makes people want to buy from you. And to establish a brand like that, you need to engage in dedicated content marketing.

A modern content marketing strategy will include social media activity, marketing emails, blog posts, articles, collaborations, and/or downloadable resources, to name just some of the options.

Find the time and effort to create some worthwhile content, and you’ll give numerous potential customers good reasons to stop by your website to see what you have to offer.

Strong Financial Management

Having great products at competitive prices might give you an edge, but it won’t save you if you don’t know how to handle your money.

Keeping money moving along can be surprisingly challenging for an eCommerce seller: when you have various incoming and outgoing payments lined up, but no emergency fund yet saved, it’s possible for your entire operation to be knocked down by just one late payment toppling everything else like a house of cards.

It isn’t actually that hard to stay on top of eCommerce finances, of course: run through the basic concepts to understand profit margins, get everything neatly lined up in one place (using free accounting software is great for this), and appoint someone (whether in-house or consulting) to keep an eye on everything and inform you of any imminent danger.

Whenever you want to scale up, having full awareness of your accounts will help significantly.

A Willingness to Adapt

Retail trends move quickly, particularly online, and sellers that think they can maintain their product lineups indefinitely are inevitably proven wrong.

With each passing season (at least), a seller should be updating their stock—phasing out the products that aren’t selling well (or aren’t achieving decent profit margins) and adding in suitable replacements.

The best merchants are keenly aware of the zeitgeist, looking closely at customer feedback and popular search terms to figure out how best to proceed.

They’re not at all stubborn, which is a trait that can plague some entrepreneurs—they intend to sell, and will change with the times to make sure that happens.

Excellent Customer Service

Do a search for a given type of product, and you’ll likely find no shortage of sellers offering similar or identical products at similar or identical prices. How do you choose between them?

This is something that plays heavily into eCommerce, particularly when you’re interested in participating in a loyalty scheme to get discounts overtime—for that reason, and for convenience, customers often want to use the same stores over and over again.

If you want to become a customer’s favorite store, you need to excel in a way that doesn’t involve your basic value propositions—and you do that by offering exceptional customer service.

Reach out to customers after purchases to ask for feedback, run a reward scheme, communicate openly on social media, act quickly to address complaints… if you really try to make people happy, they’ll pay that effort back through their loyalty.

There’s a lot more that goes into performing well in eCommerce, but these 7 ingredients alone should do a lot for your business. Keep improving, keep paying close attention to what your shoppers are looking for, and you’ll remain competitive.

Your team is about to get a whole lot mightier.

If it sounds like we might be a good fit, send us a message. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours. And then we can hit the ground running.